At some point in your life you’ve probably been told that you “can’t have your cake and eat it”. Probably by someone sporting a smug look on their face.
But did you know, there’s a business travel loophole?
Is a business travel loophole as interesting as a cake-eating loophole? Probably not, but it is incredibly useful.
Although duty of care and traveller experience are both things that an increasing number of organisations are taking into consideration when reviewing their approach to travel management, reducing spend in a way that’s effective yet realistic remains a top priority and is a common concern of most of the organisations that we work with at Click Travel.
How you control the costs of business travel, whilst also keeping your travel spend in check, really comes down to the changes you’re willing to make to do so and how well these fit in with your overarching culture. Here’s some best practice advice on changes you could implement in order to have your business travel and control it too:
1. Review your travel policy
When did you last review your travel policy? Does it reflect your organisation’s current travel patterns? You may have written a policy a couple of years ago but since then the hotel market has changed, airfares are on the increase, and the cost of rail tickets is increasing each year – not to mention that, as a growing and evolving organisation, the way in which you travel has probably changed.
Review your management information (MI) and see if you need to make changes to your policy, as well as reviewing booking patterns. If you have a travel management company (TMC) then your account manager should be able to offer advice based on your MI to ensure that you receive the best out of your travel spend.
2. Booking in advance
Although it’s a widely known axiom that ‘the later you book, the more you pay’, it’s an axiom that many travellers conveniently forget, especially when it comes to booking rail travel. Of course, plans change, meetings get postponed and ‘somethings’ come up – all of which often require a last minute booking, but what about the meetings booked in the diary weeks or months in advance?
At Click, we advise customers to book as soon as a meeting has been confirmed; if you think that plans are going to change then book flexible rates/fares that can be easily amended or refunded. We’ve worked with customers who have saved £20,000 in one year just by focusing on increasing rail lead times. If you’re currently using a TMC then your account manager should be able to demonstrate potential savings by booking in advance as well as working with you to increase lead times where possible.
3. Hotel Programme
Does your hotel programme sit within your hotel budget? It may sound like a no brainer, but at Click we have begun working with organisations to quickly discover that they have corporate rates agreed that actually fall outside of their budget.
Your corporate rates should act as the highest rate that you are willing to pay; work your hotel programme alongside best available rates to ensure that you are getting the best value at all times. Ask your account manager if they are able to display best available rates alongside corporate rates. If you have a long list of hotels on your hotel programme, sit down with your account manager and review the listing; having a limited number of hotels can drive down costs as hoteliers would then be guaranteed business if it is 1 of 3 properties instead of being 1 of 10 properties.
4. Review your Management Information
Are you regularly reviewing your data to ensure that policy compliance is over 90% and employees are not abusing the policies set in place (without good reason)?
The right management information can give you a great insight as to what is being booked, who by and why, it allows you to act upon any bookings that should not have been made and discuss ways to prevent these bookings with your Account Manager e.g. implement pre-trip approval processes. Remember, knowledge is key; without access to the right data, you simply don’t know what savings you could make.
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